Women wrap up conference play

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The women’s basketball team faced Richmond on Feb. 18, earning a 73-66 victory over the Spiders. The team moved to 22-6 overall and 12-3 in conference play. Before the game, seniors forward Olivia Jakubicek, center Sadie Stipanovich and forward Erin Nelson were honored for their hard work and dedication over their careers as Billikens.

SLU was unable to get a hold on the game early, only scoring two points at the halfway point of the quarter. They finally came within four at the end of the period, trailing 16-12.

The Bills took their first lead of the game when Jakubicek came up big with a 3-pointer to draw ahead, 19-18. Both teams exchanged leads throughout the first half of the period. Junior guard Jenny Vliet found a spark in this quarter, putting together a triple to put the Bills in the lead, 24-22. She inspired the rest of her team to put together a 13-6 run to go into the locker room with the upper hand, 34-28.

One of the women’s strong suits, the third quarter, came out again in this game. The women entered the game with a 9-2 spurt to take a 43-30 lead. However, Richmond collected themselves during intermission and responded with nine points in one minute, coming within six of the Billiken lead.

SLU was not fazed and continued to push the envelope with their lead. Two minutes into the fourth quarter, SLU possessed a 63-50 advantage over the Spiders, ready to begin closing out the game. However, the Spiders had different plans. They crawled their way back into play with a 16-6 run to draw within three points of the lead. With one minute left to play, the score was 69-66 in favor of the Billikens.

Despite the high tension in Chaifetz Arena, junior Jackie Kemph stepped up to the challenge, driving to the hoop on the following possession for a two-point basket. She then converted on two free throws, and her team followed suit with a defensive stop to seal the deal.

Stipanovich had a game high of 21 points, moving into second place on SLU’s career scoring list with 1,494 points. She is just 52 points away from shattering the school record.

The women traveled to Dayton on Feb. 22 for their final conference game. The Flyers edged past the Billikens despite a 3-pointer in the last few seconds of regulation from Stipanovich to tie up the game at 56.

Neither team could find a clear advantage in the first quarter, ending the ten minutes of play with a 18-17 Dayton lead. SLU trailed just behind the Flyers for the majority of the second period and trailed by two, 34-32, going into the locker room.

SLU fell behind for the entirety of the third quarter, falling behind, 54-49, at the end of the period. The fourth quarter was entirely defensive, with SLU outscoring the Flyers, 7-2, in the ten minutes of play. Stipanovich tied it up at the end with a 3-pointer, but Dayton regrouped to dominate in overtime and take the win, along with first place in the regular season.

The women ended with a 22-7 overall and 12-4 A-10 record.

SLU will compete in the A-10 Championship as the no. 4 seed. They will host a first-round game against UMass on Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.